Hey all,

How are you doing? I’m trying to keep my posts weekly, but because it’s such a manic week, this Derby Foodie has lots going on so I just HAD to hop online again.

So the Great British Bake Off (GBBO) started again, with 12 new contestants braving the marquee and Mary and Paul’s discerning stares.

I only started watching GBBO last year and was a reluctant viewer at first. The thing is, you can’t help but get sucked in as you watch baking drama unfold. Seriously, if you haven’t given it a whirl, I strongly recommend you do.

The 12 contestants seem a likeable bunch and are a lovely mixed bag. I’m rooting for Marie, Nadiya or the baker of the moment (in my head, he’s such a sweetie), Tamal. I especially liked the latter’s chocolate collar (very creative) and he has a certain coolness which immediately puts you at ease.

In the first episode there were memorable moments a-plenty. Dorrett’s mousse melted, Stu had only 1 caramelised walnut atop his frosted walnut cake (what was he thinking?!) and young Flora nearly had a botched job on her hands. You know, because she has an Aga at home. (What a thoroughly middle-class dilemma.)

Items baked included Mary’s frosted walnut cake, Madeira cake and Black Forest Gateau. I felt inspired to bake, and I rustled up some yummy cake-pops.

They’re fairly easy to make. I used a regular Victoria Sponge I had stashed away in the freezer, then Googled a recipe for lighter buttercream (an amalgamation of butter, vegetarian shortening and low-fat cream cheese). I then covered with Candy Melts. Now, it’s my first time working with Candy Melts and I found them way too sweet to encase the whole of the cake-pop. I wound up drizzling the cake-pops with the melted mixture using a fork, and then quickly sprinkling the toppers before the mixture set. Also next time, I’ll use chocolate as a covering and don’t think I’ll use the overtly sweet Candy Melts.

I’m discovering a latent passion for chocolate and I hope to see more use of this lush ingredient on GBBO. Overall it was a good opening episode and one in which we saw Paul H meet his doppelganger Paul “baker”. Surely they know they look similar? (Not the features, just hair, goatee, blue eyes and general demeanour.) It was slightly disconcerting and oddly surreal but ultimately comic, and I can’t wait to see more of these two interacting.

Who are you rooting for? Which GBBO contestant do you want to see go all the way and be crowned winner? I’d love to know! So apart from the Bake-Off madness, what else have you been up to? It’s food festival season, and the next two weekends will see me covering the Nottingham Food Festival (15-16 Aug) and the Bolton Food & Drink Festival (28-31 Aug).

That’s why I’m eating healthily, so I can afford to indulge (just a little bit). If you’re a foodie and like good, delicious foodstuffs, do check out these festivals. Expect a food festival write-up in the following respective weeks.

See you all soon and enjoy the lovely sunshine.


PS good luck to all GBBO bods and get baking!